Bipolar Disorder Research

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a medical condition in which people experience two different types of abnormal mood states: 1) clinical depression and 2) periods of unusually elevated mood and energy, referred to as mania (when severe) or hypomania (when less severe). The number and type of mood episodes vary between individuals, but for most people depressions outnumber manias/hypomanias.

BD affects 60 million people worldwide, including 6.5 million Americans and 115,000 Minnesotans. It is a complex illness with multiple causes, including changes in brain structure, brain function, and brain chemistry. Genetic factors are also important, and BD often (but not always) runs in families. Life stresses, sleep deprivation, poor health, and substance use can trigger depressive and manic/hypomanic episodes in people with BD.

There are many effective medications to treat and prevent depression and mania/hypomania. Choosing the right medication or combination of medications depends on numerous factors, including the type of mood episode being treated, a person's illness history, and their response to previous medication trials. Research studies are currently underway to develop additional treatments, to better understand the genetics of BD, and to develop diagnostic tests for BD (eg. brain scans, blood tests).

Research Focus

Dr. David Bond's research lab is conducting studies to better understand the genetics of BD and BD subtypes; to develop effective diagnostic tests for BD, and to investigate the impact of body health on brain illness severity in people with BD.